Former pimp accused of murdering Calgary mother and daughter to face court hearing

A former pimp accused of murdering a five-year-old child and her mother is one step closer to trial as his preliminary inquiry gets underway in Calgary. 

Edward Downey is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the July 2016 deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and her daughter Taliyah Marsman, 5.

A preliminary inquiry is a hearing to determine if there’s sufficient evidence for the accused to be sent to trial.

Baillie’s body was found in the basement suite she shared with her daughter in the northwest community of Panorama Hills. Marsman was missing from the home when police discovered her mother’s body.

After a nearly week-long Amber Alert, Marsman’s body was discovered and Downey was charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Downey has a criminal history involving pimping, drug trafficking and weapons offences dating back more than 25 years.

He has been connected to a Nova Scotia-based organized crime group involved mostly in pimping and human trafficking called North Preston’s Finest.

The Parole Board of Canada twice denied Downey’s request to be released from prison for other offences in the past, citing his likelihood to commit “a violent offence” — particularly against a woman — if released.

Defence lawyer Gavin Wolch and Crown prosecutor Carla McPhail will run the hearing, which starts on Monday, for four days this week and will continue again in May. 

Downey has been in custody since his arrest.



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